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Beware of the Disabled List Slump

Andre Ethier is the best example of the slow return from injury.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you are a fantasy owner with injured players on your roster, and who isn't, you are probably counting the days, until you can reinsert them into your lineup.

I know I have Troy Tulowitzki as my shortstop and I have the calendar marked as to when he should be making his return from his broken left wrist.

But that might not be the best thing for my fantasy team.

If we look at the five players below, each has spent time on the disabled list this season. And when they returned, they didn't immediately play up to their previous level.

Andre Ethier is the best example of the slow return from injury. Before he broke a finger, he was putting up "Triple Crown-like" numbers. Over the first 33 games in 2010, Ethier was batting .392 with 11 homers, 38 RBI and an OPS of 1.201.

However, in the 10 games immediately after Ethier returned, he batted .275 with no homers, two runs batted in and an OPS of just 0.736. He's actually still struggling into early July, hitting just .237 since his May 31st return.

Ethier isn't the only one.

Nelson Cruz Jr. was batting .327 with 10 homers, 34 RBI and an OPS of 1.134 when he suffered a hamstring injury that sent him to the DL for the second time this season. He returned on June 22nd and in the 10 games since is batting .278 with no home runs and five RBI.

Jorge Posada was batting .326 with an OPS of 1.024 until he was injured on May 16th and when he returned on June 1st has batted .182 with an OPS of 0.614.

Even Ian Kinsler, who didn't begin his season until April 30th, and batted a solid .324 had an OPS below his career average (0.810 vs. 0.826).

So while we are all waiting anxiously for Tulowitzki, Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Heyward, Carlos Beltran, Manny Ramirez, Victor Martinez, Brian Roberts and others to return, it might be best to wait a week or two to see if they are truly ready to play before putting them into our lineups.

Selected Players Return from DL Production - first 10 games

Jorge PosadaNYY33361500.1820.614
Nelson Cruz JrTEX402100510.2780.633
Andre EthierLAD404110210.2750.736
Lance BerkmanHOU35482700.2290.782
Ian KinslerTEX375120220.3240.810

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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